Ranking Member Lamborn's Statement at Readiness Hearing on Investing in an Organic Industrial Base
WASHINGTON – Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) – House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness Ranking Member – delivered the following opening statement at a subcommittee hearing on “Investing in an Organic Industrial Base to Support Service Modernization Plans.”
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"The organic industrial base is a vital and important part of our readiness and ultimately our national security.
The talented men and woman who work in our nation’s depots, arsenals, shipyards, and logistics complexes ensure our warfighters have the equipment that they need when they need it, and that it works as designed. Equipment that is more often than not well beyond its service life, but still preforming vital missions.
As our nation started to feel the impacts of COVID-19 this time last year, the organic industrial base also began grappling with how to fulfill their mission while protecting the workforce. Each of the Services dealt differently with the problem of “touch labor” that couldn’t be conducted from home, and I look forward to hearing from each of our witnesses what they learned and how they are incorporating those lessons into their planning going forward.
COVID also highlighted that this workforce is aging. These are highly skilled artisans with years of experience. I would like to hear both how you are using your authorities to help hire and train the next generation and what we can do help you be innovative in this area. We need to explore different ways to increase the supply of young people joining this skilled labor market to meet these growing demands. Not everyone needs a four-year college degree, but our nation needs more men and women working in skilled trades.
Another issue we see across the services is infrastructure that is not being invested in to maintain the current workload or prepare for modern systems or modern practices. Too often these are areas that the services have taken budget risk, leaving us with facilities and utilities that were built over 50 years ago.
The Navy has a particularly acute problem in this area. The GAO has assessed that all four public shipyards are in poor or failing condition, with too few functional dry docks. Just last year the Navy decided to scrap the fire ravaged Bonhomme Richard, at least partially due to the lack of dry dock space needed to repair it. That we have so little trade space when it comes to the schedule should be concerning to us all.
In response to these concerns, the Navy has put forward the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) to invest $21 billion into the public shipyards’ aging dry docks, equipment, and infrastructure. I look forward to seeing this year’s budget and the resources the Navy is committing to this area because without real dollars we can’t make the progress needed.
Finally, I would like to hear how you are managing your sustainment planning. While this committee has certainly talked about how it impacts carryover, and that is something we are still interested in, it also touches everything from training, to budgets, to hiring.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many easy answers here, but I know the Chairman and I are both committed to working with you all to ensure the organic industrial base has what it needs to continue to support our men and women in uniform."
Watch Congressman Lamborn's statement, here.